Home > What Is Rabies Virus And How Do Animals Get Rabies?


What is rabies virus and how do animals get rabies?

What Is Rabies Virus And How Do Animals Get Rabies?

What is a rabies virus?

Rabies virus belongs to Rhabdoviridae of serotype 1. The rabies virus is bullet-shaped. It is an enveloped RNA virus that helps in lipid solubility. It is helical in symmetry. It is a negative single-stranded unsegmented RNA genome, which encodes 3 structural proteins and 2 non-structural proteins. Rabies is a viral disease spread via the saliva of infected animals. These occur usually through biting a human or another animal. Transmission can also occur through saliva, touching an open wound, or touching mucous membranes.

Rabies is 100% fatal without treatment. It is a dangerous infection that will inevitably get worse over time however you can do preventive medical methods that work very well with administered in time. Rabies virus is approximately 180 nm long and 75 nm wide. It is composed of:

  • Internal protein core(capsid)
  • Lipoprotein enveloped
  • Glycoprotein spikes

What causes rabies in animals?

Rabies infection is caused by the rabies virus. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Infected animals can spread the virus by biting another animal or a person. In rare cases, rabies can be spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucus membranes such as the mouth or eyes. This could occur if an infected animal were to lick an open cut on your skin.

When a virus enters the human body via a dog bite, it invades in muscles where cellular multiplication starts. Then retrograde axonal transport proceeds. There is rapid multiplication in the spinal cord and breathing. They multiply rapidly by binary division. When centrifugal force is observed via peripheral nerves on the skin, cornea, salivary gland, and pancreas symptoms appear.

Symptoms of rabies virus:

The incubation period is a period from viral entry to symptoms appearing.  The rabies incubation period is around average 20 to 90 days. However, the incubation period is shorter if a wound is on the face and hand and it is also shorter in children than adults.  According to research, only 15% of cases develop rabies. The difference between healthy and rabid animals is listed below:

  • Look abnormal and sick
  • Continue salivation
  • Frothy mouth
  • Want to bite anyone


There are 4 stages of rabies virus, which are discussed below:

  1. Early symptoms: Their time duration is 2 to 10 days. The symptoms that appear in this period are fever, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, headache, and paresthesia pain at this site.
  2. Acute neurologic disease: It is also called the hydrophobic stage (fear of water). This occurs due to dysfunction of infected brainstem neurons. When the patient attempts to drink water, there is a vasospasm on the pharynx and the patient feels pain. There is anxiety, hallucination, manifestation, hypersalivation, sweating, papillary dilation, confusion, and, agitation.
  3. Paralytic rabies: They are also called dumb rabies. Their duration of action is 2 to 7 days. 20% of the cases reached this stage in which there is ascending facial paralysis, fatigue, tingling sensation around the bite, partial or slight paralysis and hyperactivity.
  4. Coma or death stage: Their duration is about 14 days. There is invariably fatal encephalomyelitis in which inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and then myelin sheath damage. Recent research found that the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are also affected by this stage. It is the last stage in which death occurs.

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Rabies virus treatment

Primarily affects mammals which are warm-blooded animals with fur and technically any mammal can get rabies and that includes people, birds, snakes, and fish so they can give rabies to you.

  • Copiously washed with water along with antiseptic for 15 minutes.
  • Rabies immunoglobulin
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • Vaccines killed fixed rabies grown in cell lines.
  • Skin biopsy most commonly uses cornea impression
  • Saliva immunofluorescence for antigen detection
  • Pcr
  • Serology test

Is it possible to treat the rabies virus at home?

If you have an animal bite. What should you do for first aid? Here is a summary of first aid.

  • First, if you can identify healthy animals or rabid. You have to start first aid immediately.
  • Keep applying soap where animals bite, and keep the tape water on. Do this for a minimum of 5 minutes.
  • Then clean with cotton and clean with water.
  • After that clean with spirit and lastly apply betadine ointment.
  • Then you have to consult with a
  • Do not dress or stitch
  • By doctor’s suggestion, if the animal is healthy, get vaccinated with tetanus injection.
  • And if the bite is from a rabid animal, get vaccinated against tetanus in addition to the rabies vaccine.

Can rabies be prevented after exposure?

Since the inoculation period happens before the spread of rabies to the nervous system. There is enough time for a vaccination to boost the immune response to the virus preventing it from spreading by killing the virus. The post-exposure treatment involves a shot containing immunoglobulin against the rabies virus and a series of vaccinations over the next two weeks. These vaccines can be administered both to animals and humans to reduce the spread of viral infection to workers and rabies prone to environments and is recommended to vaccinate themselves regularly vets.

The vaccines are injected into the deltoid muscles (upper arm). They are made from inactivated viruses. It starts producing antibodies by getting vaccinated. It may take time but once it is made, it protects us from rabies. Immunoglobulin is an antibody itself, used after a bite. They have one use within 7 days. But vaccines may use post-exposure and pre-exposure. A vaccine has a total of five doses:

  • Day 1
  • Day 3
  • Day 7
  • day 14
  • Day 287


The rabies virus is extremely contagious. Rabies is a zoonotic disease spread from animal to animal. It is a viral neuro-invasive disease which means it causes inflammation in the brain and it is usually fatal on a global scale. There are around 60,000 deaths from rabies each year with 95 percent of human deaths occurring in Asia and Africa. Now this number is likely to be a gross underestimate due to underreporting so actual deaths are likely to be much higher. Dogs on a global scale, 99% of deaths are caused by rabies. Sadly almost half of rabies cases in these countries happen in children under 15. Vaccination of dogs is crucial for preventing rabies in humans and is also the most economical method.



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